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Portuguese Meat Pies

  • Yield: About 36 meat pies


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Essence
  • Oil for pan-frying
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives, such as Kalamata
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper to taste


  • In a bowl combine veal, salt, red pepper, garlic, cilantro, parsley, buttermilk, 1 egg and 1/4 cupof the breadcrumbs and mix quickly but thoroughly to combine. Form into meatballs the size of a large walnut, about 2 tablespoons each in size.
  • Beat the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of the Essence in a shallow bowl. Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon of the remaining Essence in a shallow bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining teaspoon of Essence in a shallow bowl.
  • Dip each ball first into the seasoned flour, then into the eggwash, and finally into the breadcrumbs. Flatten the balls slightly to form a patty and place on a wax paper-covered baking sheet. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  • In a large sauté pan add enough oil to come 1/2-inch up the side of the pan. Heat the oil to 350°F. Fry the meat pies in the oil in batches until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 or 4 minutes each side, turning as they cook. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining meat pies. Serve hot with Spicy Portuguese sauce.
  • SPICY PORTUGUESE SAUCE: In a saucepan heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper, anchovy fillets and olives and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, tomatoes and water and stir well to combine. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, until flavors have blended and sauce is thickened. Add parsley, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste and serve warm with portuguese meat pies.